LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – With 101 days until the midterm elections, the race for Texas governor is heating up.

East Texans for Beto gathered in Longview to show their support. The former congressman is making several stops in East Texas while on his 49-day “Drive for Texas” tour, stopping in Longview, Palestine and Lufkin on Friday. He said that people’s party affiliation is not important here.

“In our Texas, it’s you and me right, we’re going to bring people together and find a way, regardless of our differences. Y no me importa if you’re Republican or Democrat,” said O’Rourke.

Gov. Greg Abbott supporters also gathered outside the venue with signs.

Both East Texas groups, some supporting O’Rourke and some supporting Abbott, expressed what they look for in a governor.

“I just think we need a governor that’s going to stand strong against Biden’s open border policy and really put Texas first,” said a Gov. Abbott supporter, Amy Bridges.

“I need a governor that represents all citizens states rights on a state level. I believe that governor’s should take special interest in people that aren’t necessarily at the top. I think that teachers need more attention, and I think education needs more attention,” said Beto O’Rourke supporter Shayna Porter.

A poll conducted by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs shows Gov. Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke is starting to narrow.

The data from early July shows the gap between the two is just 5% now.

“The big change of this was that back in February, he held an 11% lead and one of the things we know about politics is that you can’t necessarily take half of a lead and then half of a lead. It gets harder and harder to do so,” said Mark Owens, Associate Professor of political science at UT Tyler.

Some of the main topics East Texans are focused on include the border, the energy grid and school safety.

O’Rourke said this about Gov. Abbott’s response to Uvalde: “Nine weeks since Uvalde. My kids go to their first day of school on Monday, and nothing but nothing has changed to ensure that they are safer.”

Political Science Professor Mark Owens said although this race is tighter, it’s still the governors to lose.

“Beto’s opportunity is to just show that he’s an alternative to the status quo, and that the status quo isn’t what maybe it was four years ago. And this is going to be a contrast that Governor Abbott is going to remind us that, you know, the economy is doing well in Texas compared to the national level and that there are number of things that he’s done in order to bring companies to the state and help with jobs,” explained Owens.

Watch the full interview with Owens below: